Category: George Orwell

Thoughts at the half way point of Coming up for Air

This book starts with great humour. It’s hard not to see some of myself in the lead character George Bowling who is struggling to come to terms with his life. Swamped by two children and the dreary existence of being an insurance salesman he seems to be drifting through life failing to find any satisfaction or meaning.

Where did it all go wrong? To some extent the First World War marked the changing point taking George away from the life he knew. With both parents dying during the war he had no home to go to after wards.

There were opportunities of course and he took some of them but he seems to have ended up 45 and fat and far from happy by the time the book gets back to the present and he finishes reminiscent about the past.

Great so far and looking forward to the rest…

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book of books – Homage to Catalonia


Book of books – Homage to Catalonia by George Orwell
Linking in with the current reading books both fiction and non-fiction relating to the Spanish Civil War will be posted for the next couple of days starting with this one.

book context:
A personal account of the Spanish Civil War and his experience fighting for the socialists (anti-Franco) side. Like a large number of people who romanticised the cause for freedom Orwell went to fight for justice as he saw it and beat the fascists in the form of Franco and his help from Hitler. Maybe the socialists were always doomed because they couldn’t compete with the support Franco was getting from abroad but the frustration Orwell feels at the infighting between communists and anarchists provides another explanation that goes towards explaining why Franco was able to win.

is it well written?
It’s hard to have a pop at Orwell who was not only a journalist but able to produce classics like 1984 and Animal Farm but the only criticism would be that sometimes it is hard to follow all of the groups involved with their acronyms and different takes on the socialist spectrum. Mind you the sense of frustration and vagueness is of course part of the feeling he is trying to get across. As he says in the book: “there was much in it I did not understand.”

Should it be read?
Not something you would run out and buy unless you had an interest in the Spanish Civil War or George Orwell. Those people who are Orwell readers would probably be satisfied with Animal Farm and 1984. This is a book that is in the style of a hack writing so it is a bit like reportage and it shows how he can weave a story out of the moment and you do end up sharing his frustration and boredom and wondering what on earth it is all in aid of. This is a ‘classic’ according to Penguin and deserves to be read but not as a first port of call on a voyage into Orwell’s world.

Leads to
Apart from Animal Farm and 1984 in this style of reportage living it for real is Down and out in Paris and London which is also a pretty quick and easy read.

Version – penguin Classics range

book review – Homage to Catalonia


Book of books – Homage to Catalonia by George Orwell
Linking in with the current reading books both fiction and non-fiction relating to the Spanish Civil War will be posted for the next couple of days starting with this one.

book context:
A personal account of the Spanish Civil War and his experience fighting for the socialists (anti-Franco) side. Like a large number of people who romanticised the cause for freedom Orwell went to fight for justice as he saw it and beat the fascists in the form of Franco and his help from Hitler. Maybe the socialists were always doomed because they couldn’t compete with the support Franco was getting from abroad but the frustration Orwell feels at the infighting between communists and anarchists provides another explanation that goes towards explaining why Franco was able to win.

is it well written?
It’s hard to have a pop at Orwell who was not only a journalist but able to produce classics like 1984 and Animal Farm but the only criticism would be that sometimes it is hard to follow all of the groups involved with their acronyms and different takes on the socialist spectrum. Mind you the sense of frustration and vagueness is of course part of the feeling he is trying to get across. As he says in the book: “there was much in it I did not understand.”

Should it be read?
Not something you would run out and buy unless you had an interest in the Spanish Civil War or George Orwell. Those people who are Orwell readers would probably be satisfied with Animal Farm and 1984. This is a book that is in the style of a hack writing so it is a bit like reportage and it shows how he can weave a story out of the moment and you do end up sharing his frustration and boredom and wondering what on earth it is all in aid of. This is a ‘classic’ according to Penguin and deserves to be read but not as a first port of call on a voyage into Orwell’s world.

Leads to
Apart from Animal Farm and 1984 in this style of reportage living it for real is Down and out in Paris and London which is also a pretty quick and easy read.

Version – penguin Classics range

book review – Homage to Catalonia


Book of books – Homage to Catalonia by George Orwell
Linking in with the current reading books both fiction and non-fiction relating to the Spanish Civil War will be posted for the next couple of days starting with this one.

book context:
A personal account of the Spanish Civil War and his experience fighting for the socialists (anti-Franco) side. Like a large number of people who romanticised the cause for freedom Orwell went to fight for justice as he saw it and beat the fascists in the form of Franco and his help from Hitler. Maybe the socialists were always doomed because they couldn’t compete with the support Franco was getting from abroad but the frustration Orwell feels at the infighting between communists and anarchists provides another explanation that goes towards explaining why Franco was able to win.

is it well written?
It’s hard to have a pop at Orwell who was not only a journalist but able to produce classics like 1984 and Animal Farm but the only criticism would be that sometimes it is hard to follow all of the groups involved with their acronyms and different takes on the socialist spectrum. Mind you the sense of frustration and vagueness is of course part of the feeling he is trying to get across. As he says in the book: “there was much in it I did not understand.”

Should it be read?
Not something you would run out and buy unless you had an interest in the Spanish Civil War or George Orwell. Those people who are Orwell readers would probably be satisfied with Animal Farm and 1984. This is a book that is in the style of a hack writing so it is a bit like reportage and it shows how he can weave a story out of the moment and you do end up sharing his frustration and boredom and wondering what on earth it is all in aid of. This is a ‘classic’ according to Penguin and deserves to be read but not as a first port of call on a voyage into Orwell’s world.

Leads to
Apart from Animal Farm and 1984 in this style of reportage living it for real is Down and out in Paris and London which is also a pretty quick and easy read.

Version – penguin Classics range

book review – Homage to Catalonia


Book of books – Homage to Catalonia by George Orwell
Linking in with the current reading books both fiction and non-fiction relating to the Spanish Civil War will be posted for the next couple of days starting with this one.

book context:
A personal account of the Spanish Civil War and his experience fighting for the socialists (anti-Franco) side. Like a large number of people who romanticised the cause for freedom Orwell went to fight for justice as he saw it and beat the fascists in the form of Franco and his help from Hitler. Maybe the socialists were always doomed because they couldn’t compete with the support Franco was getting from abroad but the frustration Orwell feels at the infighting between communists and anarchists provides another explanation that goes towards explaining why Franco was able to win.

is it well written?
It’s hard to have a pop at Orwell who was not only a journalist but able to produce classics like 1984 and Animal Farm but the only criticism would be that sometimes it is hard to follow all of the groups involved with their acronyms and different takes on the socialist spectrum. Mind you the sense of frustration and vagueness is of course part of the feeling he is trying to get across. As he says in the book: “there was much in it I did not understand.”

Should it be read?
Not something you would run out and buy unless you had an interest in the Spanish Civil War or George Orwell. Those people who are Orwell readers would probably be satisfied with Animal Farm and 1984. This is a book that is in the style of a hack writing so it is a bit like reportage and it shows how he can weave a story out of the moment and you do end up sharing his frustration and boredom and wondering what on earth it is all in aid of. This is a ‘classic’ according to Penguin and deserves to be read but not as a first port of call on a voyage into Orwell’s world.

Leads to
Apart from Animal Farm and 1984 in this style of reportage living it for real is Down and out in Paris and London which is also a pretty quick and easy read.

Version – penguin Classics range